Published on 14 April 2021
The wheels of change may turn slowly at Flower Drum, but turn they do, and usually for the better. While the restaurant is cherished for the care taken by owner/chef Anthony Lui and his son, general manager, Jason Lui, to preserve its old-school charms, it's by no means stuck in time, and news of the addition of a bar seating around 24 lucky customers at the north end of the Market Lane landmark is already by welcoming by its many regulars.
"It’s a pretty big departure from our long-lunch and dinner format," says Jason Lui, "but it's something I’ve always wanted to do. We're in the theatre district, after all, and it's nice to have another great place to go before or after a show, or just for a drink after work."
The bar, which Lui says will open in May, will offer snacks and drinks across a mixture of bar and booth seating. It'll just be drinks first – choice cuts from the famed wine list plus a new cocktail selection – with a dedicated bar-food menu to follow.
Expect the likes of stir-fried abalone with toasted sesame and vermicelli served on the half-shell alongside luxe spring rolls (black truffle and wagyu beef, say), dumplings, buns and perhaps the odd rice dish for ballast.
Dom Pérignon will be on pour by the glass along with Burgundies and offerings from top-flight Victorian producers, all against a backdrop of jade greens, brass, and soft fabrics. It's an aesthetic Lui says drew on a research trip he took to Hong Kong in 2019. "I had in mind a sort of Shanghai Tang, China Club sort of feel," he says. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Flower Drum, 17 Market La, Melbourne, flowerdrum.melbourne.
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